More than a third of my clients live outside the United States, so when we talk for the first time I often answer embarrassing questions about what it’s really like to be an American.
“Do you eat cheeseburgers every day?”
“Do you own a gun?”
“Does your toilet have a bidet?”
No, no, and no.
But sometimes they get it right. “Don’t you try to kill each other for Christmas presents?”
Well, kind of…
Today is Black Friday, also known as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.
Just 24 hours ago we were counting our blessings and giving thanks, and now millions of Americans are rushing to stores and trampling their neighbors to get the best deal on a flat screen TV.
I don’t do Black Friday shopping (thank you, Internet!), but it used to be a essential part of my life.
Nearly twenty years ago, I was a 17-year-old high school senior driving to the mall at 5:00 in the morning on Black Friday.
Was I desperate for 50% off merchandise? No way! I worked in the trendy shoe store that sold Spice Girls platform shoes to the masses.
It sounds weird, but I loved working retail! As an extrovert, I replenish my energy by being around people…and it seemed like every person in town was at the mall.
All day I measured ladies’ feet, discussed whether they should buy the gold or silver heels, and carried boxes back and forth from the storage room.
At one point, there were so many shoppers in the store that I couldn’t keep up with the process of returning the rejected pairs of shoes to the back.
You know how shoe stores only keep one shoe in each style on display? There’s a very good reason for that.
A woman grabbed me as I was maneuvering my way through the crowd carrying an armload of boxes.
“I love it!” she squealed and showed me the knee-high red boot on her left foot. Very Ginger Spice.
“That’s great! It’s the last pair in the store.” I said, happy that she found something she liked. But I didn’t remember her asking me to bring out the pair…
“Where’s the other one?” she asked pointing to her bare right foot.
I quickly glanced around the store…and then I saw it. The shiny red boot’s twin was on the foot of another customer.
They had each grabbed a boot from the same box! And there weren’t any more pairs in the back.
My heart dropped, and I felt the cookies I ate for lunch churning in my stomach.
The ladies pounced on each other like toddlers fighting over a candy cane.
“I saw it first!”
“No, you didn’t!”
“Let go, you miserable cow!”
One lady actually tried pushing the other one over and tugging the boot off her foot. A crowd formed a circle around the screaming shoppers as they knocked over our Christmas tree and rolled on the floor.
My manager put her hand on my shoulder and motioned for me to escape to the storage room. I hid my face behind the boxes I was carrying and scooted away.
As I placed the shoe boxes back on the storage shelves, I could still hear the Grinches hurling insults at each other over the sound of the piped-in holiday music.
Merry Christmas, indeed.
OK, so maybe bargain shopping brings out the worst in us, but that doesn’t mean we need to participate in the craziness.
On this Black Friday, I challenge you to honor yourself with a healthy serving of white space (self-care).
Read your favorite books, spend time with loved ones, go for a walk and look at the holiday decorations, eat dessert like the calories don’t exist!
And if you need a little relaxation time, then be sure to check out my free video series, your Life Editing Action Plan (LEAP). You’ll especially love video 5 where I give you examples of how to incorporate white space into your busy lives.
Want to edit your life without battling your neighbors at the mall?
Get your 2018 Edited Year Planners from the comfort of your home. Place your order by Cyber Monday (November 27) and you’ll get the digital version(s) absolutely free!